A war of words triggered by unusually high monitor failure rates has broken out between Samsung and one of its resellers.
Plus Corporation, based in the Sydney suburb of Rydalmere, claims it initially experienced a 100 per cent failure rate on the vendor’s 172x TFT monitor when it was released in March. While the situation had since improved, the dealer has said the number of faulty units was still above average.
Plus managing director, Nigel Fernandes, hit out at the monitor vendor, claimed its 172x series TFT screens had caused ongoing problems for Plus customers.
The company was still experiencing a 20 per cent failure rate on the 172x model due to dead on arrival (DOA) stock, he said.
“We are continuously swapping out DOA monitors under the seven-day policy and freighting back replacements sometimes as many as three times,” he said.
In addition, customers who had attempted to contact Samsung in relation to problems with the screen had waited up to six weeks without getting replacement screens, he claimed.
Out of the 100 or so 172x monitors sold by Plus since its release, more than 75 had been faulty, Fernandes said. He estimated 20 per cent of current stock ordered each week was still faulty.
Representatives from distributors Altech Computer and Westan agreed there had been extensive problems with the 172x model upon its initial release in March. But both said the problem had subsequently been addressed, and batches now being sent to resellers were up to scratch.
Westan marketing director, Phil Jackson, said Samsung had recognised — not long after releasing the 172x model — that there was a quality issue with the screen relating to dead pixels within the TFT displays.
This had not been picked up during their quality checking process, he said. At the same time, a tenfold spike in demand for the model due to positive industry reviews meant product availability became scarce. As a result of the 172x problem, Samsung instituted an additional level of quality control. Although this fixed the initial technical issue identified with the 172x model, a second problem relating to the dead pixels was detected while delivering the screens from the distributors to the customers.
Rather than issue a mass recall of entire batches of the screens, Samsung was now working with partners to replace faulty goods as they were detected.
“The current product is within warranty guidelines of dead pixels — less than one per cent,” Jackson estimated.
He commended Samsung’s handling of the issue and said the vendor was working with partners to replace faulty goods as they were detected.
“It is a good outcome,” Jackson said. “It’s not easy for the customer but sometimes you have to get to that level to find where the problem is.”
Altech marketing director, Safa Joumaa, said his company had experienced massive problems with the monitor in the beginning.
However, he said the monitor now maintained a failure rate that was on par with other models available from Altech.
To compensate for the faulty stock, Plus was buying more 172x product as a buffer, Fernandes said.
While the financial costs had not been overwhelming, he said the time spent on rectifying customer problems with the 172x had been substantial.
Fernandes said Plus would continue to stock Samsung monitors but had shifted its focus to other manufacturers and models for its promotional PC systems.
Responding to the claims, Samsung product manager for displays, Joe Serra, said that while there had been a very high instance of dead pixels within initial 172x stock, current stock was of the highest quality.
He said the 172x problems related to the vendor’s first shipment of 200 units. Of these, the majority had one dead pixel out of the box.
But Serra denied that further shipments of the 172x were faulty.
Such claims were unequivocally untrue, he said.
The panel used in the 172x model was also used in other Samsung screens, including the 173CT and 710 units.
“We have not had any major problems with these units,” Serra said.
Unprecedented demand had magnified the problem of providing stock to distributors and fulfilling customer demand, he said.
“I understand the discontent of resellers,” Serra said. “But if I had experienced that catastrophic a rate of faulty stock, I would have pulled the product off the market.”
He said Samsung had now sold more than 3000 units of the 172x since its release. The company has tested more than 1500 of these units, Derra said.
It had put in a new quality control layer to ensure new units were thoroughly tested before being made available to distributors, he said.n